Opened almost a year ago, the enormous Thaddeus Ropac gallery in Pantin was set up in order to show out of the ordinary artworks. By inviting Georg Baselitz, they are at least assured of filling the space. Because as well as his imposing, sombre paintings (the translated title of the exhibition is ‘The Dark Side’), the German artist is also setting up his enormous sculptures.
Like many painters before him (Picasso, Degas, Gauguin, Ernst), Baselitz has discovered a new outcome at the point where the materials used in pictorial art seem to have reached their limits. In his eyes, sculpture is ‘a shorter road than painting’. It is ‘less cryptic than a canvas, more direct, more comprehensible’.
As strongly influenced by the expressionist sculpture of the Die Brücke movement as by African sculptural forms, Baselitz's sculptures are carved in wood, which then serve as a models for pieces in black, matt bronze that scrupulously reproduce the texture of the original. Their primitive, brutal flair should be more than a match for the high walls of the Ropac.